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13 Easy Ways To Host Thanksgiving In Style

Orange Garland | Flower Patch FarmGirl
Popcorn Filled Vases | Home Furnishings
Leaf Dish Labels | Country Living
Free Thanksgiving Printables | Kind Over Matter
Autumn Table Display | Tiny White Daisies
Apple Candles | Thrifty Decor Chic
Kids Coloring Table | Country Living
Thankful Leaves | Carina Gardner
Leaf Dish Labels | Country Living
Decorating/ FUN/DIY/ Halloween/ HOME/ Homemaking

Minimal Warm & Friendly Halloween Home Decor

lighted halloween pumpkin
This is a repost from last year.  Little one asked to get the halloween decorations out this weekend, and it reminded me of this post.  My oh MY am I glad that I sorted all the decor last year and got rid of a bunch.  I will be doing the same decorations as last time. Read on to hear all about it.


When I got our Halloween decorations out, I was surprised to see that over the years my one bin of Halloween decorations have multiplied to three!  I knew right away that would just not do.  Why?  I have been much more purposeful in minimizing, thanks to the influence of Joshua at Becoming Minimalist.  I love the freedom I am feeling from both getting rid of stuff and refraining from buying more unnecessary stuff.

pumpkins and gourds, sparkly pumpkin lights

I went through the bins and tried to keep things that would add just a touch of festive fall.  I’m not putting lights up outside. I’m not hanging messy spiderwebs. I did not keep every little pumpkin I had. I only kept things that I liked and that I knew would add atmosphere.
lit up jack o lanterns
My kids love Halloween, and I know they delight in fun decorations the season brings.  I kept things that I knew would appeal to them, like faces that light up and the sparkle of a pumpkin wrapped in white twinkle lights.
white lights on twig pumpkin
There were a few sentimental things in the bins.  Paper pumpkins my kids made.  I threw those away, but kept these little monster jars we made together a few years ago.   They loved creating these jars and knew exactly which monster was ‘theirs.’  They look so cute all aglow in my windowsill.  Click here for how-to.
mason jar pumpkin faces

I did not decorate every room.  I added some decor to the living room and dining room, which is our main living space.  I put a festive candle holder in the bathroom and a pumpkin in my sunroom.  My kitchen got an apple cider scented candle.  I let my girls go through the bins and choose some things they wanted in their rooms.  Just a couple small things like a couple plastic spiders and a rubber mouse, a skeleton head.  Things I didn’t want in my main living space, although they keep showing up all over, strategically placed to make Mom scream and jump.

Things I kept:
~monster jars made by little hands that bring the memories
~large lit pumpkin
~a few fake pumpkins and gourds
~festive candle holders to make our evenings at home glowy & fun

Things I got rid of:
~large outdoor decorations that take up too much storage room
~messy cotton spiderwebs that catch all things including dust and leaves
~old Halloween costumes
~old creations made by my girls, especially paper fragile ones (confession…I took a pic of a few for memories sake.  It is hard to get rid of such cute little things!)
~lots of fake fall foliage that used to sit around and collect dust & get in the way of dusting!
~fall twigs for vases…I’m over it.

Last night was the first night with our minimal fall decor out.  I really am starting to believe in this “less is more” thing.  It was so warm and glowy and festive and fun in our home.  The girls loved it and did not comment on missing any of the things that I didn’t put out.  Love it!

Decorating/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Organizing/ Simplifying

8 Steps To Rescue A Room + Cleaning My Girls Room On Spring Break

This is a repost from the archives…one from almost exactly a year ago!  It is fun to read and see how God has answered my wonderings in the below post, with this team of people I introduced you to yesterday.  Pretty cool to see what can happen in a year AND I’m motivated to go clean up Lil’ Ones room again after reading this old post.  I might even take a before and after pic for you this time!

8 steps to rescue a room

Having my kids home for spring break has got me wondering…

…about this blog of mine. A hobby– turned passion– turned surprise income maker– now takes time.  I now have advertisers, sponsors and write occasional posts on products and get paid for it.  I find myself photographer, editor, writer, social media specialist, administrator, and receptionist all at the same time, and I LOVE IT! It has been a huge blessing, a surprise answer to prayer. We asked God about supplementing our income and what would be the best way to do that, and it seems like this blog is the answer. It brings me to tears when I think of the incredible gift I have been given, to spend time doing my passion hobby, and actually help the family income at the same time.  I have God and YOU ALL to thank for that.

But, as spring break is here, and kids are home, I find myself wondering how in the world am I going to do it all come summer break?  I have felt the pull the last 2 days, the pull between being a mom and being a blog writer.  My little ones win in this tug o’ war game.  I gladly give in.  For you see, I now know that the moments are so precious, and are not forever.  They pull, and I respond pulling them to me into arms that don’t ever want to let go.  Oh if I could freeze these precious moments!

Arms right now are empty, as I sit here in a few surprise quiet moments, as all 3 of my girls are at a friends house down the street.  Thank goodness for great neighbors, another answer to a prayer that we prayed.

Back to summer, I’m not sure how I will balance the two. I know so many of you do it, working mothers, and then those who are my heroes, single mothers.  But, I do know that my family must always come first, and I must notice and cling to those moments that so easily slip past when I am too focused on work.  I know my work is best when I am being the best mom and wife I can be.

I will probably sneak away to a coffee shop a couple evenings a week and take my laptop to the pool.

sPink girl's room

Another solution I have is bringing you into our days, sharing with you what we do, and keeping my posts simple. So today, you get to see what my youngest and I have been up to, and I will show you a glimpse of a fun little project we did yesterday with some of our neighbor kids.

Girl in pink chair
I received a phone call from Grandma last night, “Can I take you all out for breakfast in the morning?  Can I drop little ones birthday gift off at the house, too?”  So our morning started out with the blessing beautiful weather, an awesome breakfast and time with Grandma.  Grandma Sharon knew that my little one could really use her own comfy chair in her room, and after looking all over the city, she found the MOST special and comfy one.  Such a great gift!  
Girl watching tv in room
Corner desk in room
Pink and brown room
organizing markers and coloring

 My little ones room has been a mess, and I was hoping this would be the motivation she might need to get her room in order.  I was right.  As we were out to breakfast, little one asks, “Mom, do you think we could work on my room today, maybe rearrange it and find a special place for my new chair?”  Yay!  Because I didn’t over schedule our Spring Break, I was able to say “yes” and now her room looks great!  She expressed such gratitude to me for helping her with her room, which melted me.

clutter in room

 {Here is what was eliminated from her room, most of which was under the bed! Eyyy..}


8 Steps To Rescue a Room

1. Gather all clothes on that are not where they should be.  Sort dirty from clean.  Hang up/put away clean & take dirty to the laundry room.  If there are a lot of clothes to put away, grab a laundry basket and lay them neatly in there.  Do not get distracted by spending too much time doing this.  Once the room is clean, you can grab the basket and put clothes away.  You will be much more motivated once you see the beautiful, decluttered and clean room!

2. Grab a trash bag and keep it close to throw things away. I like to hang it on the door knob of the room I am cleaning. Look around the room and get the big stuff that you know is trash.  Getting clothes and trash out of the room will instantly make it feel cleaner and decluttered.

3. Make a pile outside of room that is for things found in the room that belong elsewhere.  Could use a laundry basket for this, to make the process of putting it all away easier.

4.  Make another pile outside of room for things you want to give away.  Bag it up and take to car after the room is finished.

5. Look around room and get rid of anything you don’t love.  Eliminate!  Clutter attracts clutter.

6. Keep like with like, and find a place for everything now that the room is only full of the things you love.  Everything needs a home.

7. Use a broom to get things out from under the bed.  You will find most is trash or things you want to get rid of.  If it was under the bed, it is usually not important enough to keep!

8. Now that everything is in its place, sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, wash the windows and wash the bedding.  This is all so much easier to do once the clutter is gone!


As always, when I get into one project, it seems like the rest of the house falls apart, so I will take some time this afternoon rescuing my house!  The weather is so amazing, I’m thinking it may be a great evening to pack a picnic and have Todd meet us at the park for dinner.  It is 81 degrees and sunny, with just a slight breeze.  Perfect!

Off I go to get to my rescuing, but before I do, here a quick peek at a super fun project we did yesterday.  I will have a “how-to” post coming soon!

Natural homemade lip balm

It was one of our most fun projects, the girls loved it, and I love that it is healthy for them–no chemicals!

Decorating/ Frugal/ FUN/DIY/ HOME/ Homemaking

My Bathroom Makeover Makes Me Happy!

I really can’t believe I finally got this done.  I sure wish  I took ‘before’ pictures!  I’ve wanted a grey bathroom for awhile now.  The paint color I had before was an awful brown/green color – blech!- and my shower curtain was small vertical stripes, in rusts & golds and greens, which I’ve had for over 12 years.  This was a much needed & big change!
Besides wanting to get rid of the prior green/brown paint color, what motivated me to do this was the never-ending loads of towels I was doing with 3 girls in my house!  We had one towel bar for 5 people–not good.  Not anymore.  Each girl has their own hook and their own color of towel.  If their towel is not put back o the hook and they need one, they drip dry…no joke!  This Mama is serious about cutting down on laundry!  There are 2 more hooks on the back of the bathroom door for Mom & Dad’s towels.  Our towels are white.  Nice, fluffy, spa-like white.  Ahhh. It has worked beautifully and I don’t know why I have not done this sooner!
I also was motivated by really wanting a new shower curtain.  I had the old one for over 12 years, so it was time!  I love this simple, horizontal striped shower curtain.
I added a few minimal holiday touches.  A little touch of sparkle.  I always have a candle in there, even when it is not Christmastime.
I think every room needs a touch of natural green, and these succulents on the back of the ‘throne’ were just the thing.  They are super low maintenance.  The clock was given to me by a friend–when I stand in front of my mirror, the time is reflected which is super helpful on late mornings.

The black display boxes on the wall have been a great addition to our bathroom.  Ball jars hold cotton & q-tips.  I have room deodorant spray on the top shelf, another candle, a Christmas tin for pretty storage, & shelves for wash clothes.  I LOVE having a space for an extra roll of toilet paper.  It is noticeable when the shelf is empty, and I can refill it when I notice it.  Sure beats hearing “MOM, I NEED SOME TP!!” which was the case WAY too often before.  I got a great deal on these shelves on black Friday…they were only 9 dollars!
I really, really like our new rug.  It feels so lovely on our feet & covers a crack in our tile which used to drive me nuts!
I had a very willing little helper.  It only took about 2 hours to paint the bathroom…one hour per day/coat.  Easy!  Why oh WHY do I procrastinate.  It feels so, so good to have this done.
Paint-Sherwin Williams Intellectual Grey ($40)
Towels-Bed Bath & Beyond ($8 each)
Shower Curtain-West Elm ($40)
Black Shelves-Shopko ($9)
Hooks-Target ($7 each)
Rug-Target ($20)
Washcloths-Target ($5)
Clock-gift (free)
Planters-garage sale ($3)
Plants-Walgreens ($5 each)
= about $175.00  
Not bad for a bathroom makeover!  I love my new bathroom.  I kinda want to go just sit in it now… 
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Decorating/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ Kids/Family

Using Willow Tree Figurines For a Beautiful Thanksgiving Tablescape

My sister, Julie, has collected Willow Tree Figurines for years.  I have always drooled over her collection and found them so meaningful and beautiful.  When she posted a photo of her Thanksgiving tablescape on Instagram, I drooled even more, and was blown away with how simple and beautiful it was.  

If you are not familiar with Willow Tree Figurines, here is there website.  They make wonderful gifts to mark the most important and life-changing events in life.  I love that they address all areas of life, from the good (family) to the bad (illness) and create gifts that often times speak louder than words. 

Back to my sisters table, I am going to be sitting at that table later on this evening.  We are celebrating Thanksgiving a day early with my side of the family, and I CAN’T WAIT!  My sister has made it so easy on me this year.  While she has been cleaning, decorating, baking, cooking and planning fun family games, I have been relaxing and roasting a turkey.  Yep, that is all I have to do is show up with my turkey.

{My sisters pies ready to bake}
{um, YUM!}
Here is her menu. Oh, and that drooling issue I have? It is starting again as I type!

Sweet Potato Souffle
 Twice Baked Potatoes
 Crumb Topped Broccoli Casserole
Aunt Fannie’s Squash Casserole
 Corn Casserole
 Deviled Eggs
 Pecan Pie
 Pumpkin Pie
Triple Berry Pie
Country Cherry Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies
{I’m making Turkey, Lil’ Sis is making Deviled Eggs & Pumpkin Dessert, JULIE IS MAKING THE REST.} 
{Isn’t she beautiful?  Stop drooling…}

She is amazing at many things, but when hostessing our family for holidays she shines and does it better than anyone I know.  I love her dearly, and I’m afraid I just don’t tell her often enough what a gift she is in my life and how very, very thankful I am for her.  
She has always been there for me…ALWAYS…but when I went through treatment for cancer, she was by my side.  She lived an hour away, yet made that drive a bazillion times and was by my side through it all.  She saw me at my worst, my most sick.  I know it was hard for her to see, but she just kept showing up and caring for me.  I can’t think of many times  in my life when I felt such love.

On top of it all, she is one of the funniest people I know.  Her texts make me belly laugh, and she is always the life of the party on our ‘sister nights.’ 
I love you Jules, and I’m more thankful for you than words can say.  

Decorating/ FUN/DIY/ HOME/ Homemaking

My Must-Do Home Decor Projects

Fall is coming.

I have to admit, as much fun as summer has been, when I think of fall I get a bit giddy.  I love a schedule.  I love order.  I love a picked up & clean house.  Fall brings those things.  My home is full of so many sweet young ones all summer long that it certainly does not stay in order.

Home decor and projects for sure take the back burner in the summer.  Another reason to look forward to fall.  I’m feeling the itch to update some things around here.  Paint a few rooms, do a few decor projects.

Here are a few from my Home Decor Pinterest Board that I would LOVE to do:

I must find a wall to paint black. The white frames lighten it up & pop!
Another dark wall.  Love how clean and simple everything is. I’d like to copy that framed ‘love.’

This site is said to have great prices on area rugs.  I just swapped my upstairs furniture with my downstairs furniture, and I really like it, but now I need a pop of color in my living room.  A new area rug would be the perfect solution.
We have a desk in our upstairs landing area that is unused.  I bet if I jarred up all our fun art supplies and made an art station, it would no longer be lonely.  I might top it with a piece of glass, though, as that would be much easier to clean than stained wood.

Source: via New on Pinterest

I like that vase of limbs.  That would be an inexpensive way to add some texture, height and interest to a room & to fill in a blank area.

You could easily change out the pictures, add children’s art, add color, inspirational quotes, scripture verses etc.  Not diggin’ the curtains, though!

Source: via New on Pinterest

Hurricanes and dollar store pillars.  I love candles in the fall and winter.  I love large scale decorative items.  I love cheap and simple.  I love this!

Those numbers are rad.  So is that door handle. The idea of planting grass in a planter and cutting it back in the fall for fall color, texture and beauty is brilliant!  

The size and layout of this bathroom reminds me of mine, but mine has white beadboard and the paint color above it is awful baby poo green.  Sorry, there is just no other way to describe it.  I don’t know why I chose that color over 5 years ago, but it must GO!  My bathroom is dark, so the idea of shutters that still let in light but gives privacy is really appealing.  I don’t think I could do the white shower curtain, maybe big grey and white stripes?

Ahhh… graphic pillows.  I want one that says ‘Rest.’

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Looking back on all of these, it is clear I am wanting more shades of white, grey and black.  I love color, but I especially love bringing in pops of color to a more neutral background. 
I sure hope I am feeling this motivated come fall!  I’m itchin’ to get at some of these home decor projects!
How about you?  Got any home project plans coming up in the fall?

Decorating/ Frugal/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME

Graduation Party Decoration Plan

Tis the season for graduation and graduation parties!  This year is a special one for us. My husband is programs director for an organization called City Impact.  He has the privilege of working with some pretty cool youth.  He has led a group of boys the last few years and 3 of those boys are graduating this year.  It has been amazing to watch them grow up into great young men who we know are going to make a difference in their community and in this world.

One of those guys is T.J.  We are super big T.J. fans around here. He just has a gentle way about him, he is kind and smart and his smile lights the room.  He has always been so great to my girls, he tops the list when they talk of all the “big brothers” they have.  T.J. and his family are super special to ours, so I was really excited to help decorate for his graduation party.

I love making social gatherings beautiful, and I really love challenging myself to do it in a simple way that doesn’t break the bank.

One of the first places I checked out was our local dollar store.  Working with T.J.’s mom and between the two of us, we were able to find all kinds of fun stuff there – from plates & napkins to a grad mug.  They even had a fun poster to be signed by all who enter the party.

{gathering my supplies}
T.J.’s school colors are black and white, so that was super easy to work with.  The decor we found at the dollar store had a bit of grey on it too, so working off that I decided to add bits of silver to add some shine to the party.

We will have 4 large round tables that I need a centerpiece for, and of course T.J.’s memorabilia table.  He is a football player and has been very active at school so I have lots to work with for that table.

The centerpieces we got at the dollar store came with gold tinsel.  I didn’t like how it looked and gold is not a color I wanted to add, so I bought some silver star tinsel and will work with that to make the centerpieces more what I want them to be.  

{not what I wanted}
{that is better}

The venue that we will be having the party at provides black tablecloths, and I am putting a square of this awesome silver glitter wrapping paper I found at Michael’s Craft store in the center of each table, which will ground the centerpieces.

I am rolling up paper and tying black ribbon to make simple diplomas at each centerpiece.  We also will have small mason jars with water and silver star confetti floating in it, along with a candle.  T.J.’s mom found some black and white wrapped candy, so we will sprinkle that around each centerpiece for guests to help themselves to.  I hope it turn out as cool as it looks in my head.  I’m sure it will!

T.J. had some awesome poster sized photos of himself that we will place around, one on a mantle in the party room and a couple on easels.  No one will question who we are celebrating, that is for sure!

For his memorabilia table, I plan on flanking the back of the table with white and black helium balloons, like in this photo.  

I will take photos at the party and let you all know how it turned out!

Congrats, T.J.!  Thank you for letting me be part of your day.  We love you and are very proud of you!